The Metropolitan Police Service (Met) joined police forces across the U.K. in Operation Sceptre, designed to ramp up activity to suppress knife crime and wider violence.
A vast range of activity was carried out by officers across the Met, including targeted patrols in violence hotspots; warrants to target high harm offenders; and weapons sweeps in areas known for stashed weapons.
Officers also worked closely with British Transport Police during knife arch deployments at transport hubs, aimed at deterring people from carrying weapons and drugs on the train and tube network. Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology was also used by Met and City of London officers, targeting those carrying and supplying drugs on the roads in and out of London.
Crucially, there was also a focus on education, diversion and prevention, with officers engaging with 10,563 young people; community members and business owners.
In one instance, officers from the north-west Violence and Gang Coordination Hub, alongside a mother who lost her son to knife crime and an ex-offender, engaged with a Pupil Referral Unit to warn students of the consequences of carrying a knife. Following the talks, several young people asked the officers to make referrals on their behalf to external agencies for support in sports activities and apprenticeships.
While conducting community weapons sweeps, local officers worked side-by-side with community members, listening to their concerns and searching for hidden or discarded weapons. Officers, Met Special Constables and Volunteer Police Cadets also carried out 290 retailer visits to educate businesses and ensure they were not – and do not in the future – selling knives irresponsibly.
In total the operation, which ran from November 15 to November 21, resulted in:
- 290 knives recovered;
- 937 arrests;
- 82 warrants executed;
- 186 community meetings and educational events, engaging with 1,206 individuals;
- 264 school presentations and engagements, involving 8,063 young people;
- 2,745 weapon sweeps.
Superintendent Jim Corbett, who led Operation Sceptre for the Met, said: “Knife crime completely destroys victims, families and communities, which is why tackling it is our top priority.
Operation Sceptre is an intensification of the work we already do relentlessly every single day, and officers will continue doing everything they can to target those intent on committing violent crime on our streets, to make London safer.
“Suppressing violence needs a holistic approach to deliver long-lasting solutions. I am grateful to all those partners and community members who worked alongside us and joined our efforts. We must all work together – the responsibility lies with us all to create safe communities.”
The Met said continued efforts are starting to have a collective impact, with data showing positive reductions across serious violent crime categories. This year to October 2021, compared to the same period prior to the pandemic in 2019, has seen:
– Homicides decrease by seven per cent (nine fewer victims)
– Knife crime decrease by 32 per cent (4,105 fewer offences)
– Knife crime with injury decrease by 21 per cent (718 fewer victims)
– Knife injury (victims under 25 and non-DA) decrease by 28 per cent (395 fewer victims)
– Personal robbery decrease by 44 per cent (13,453 fewer victims)
– Personal robbery knife injury decrease by 35 per cent (162 fewer victims)
– Gun crime decrease by 36 per (643 fewer offenses)
– Lethal barrel discharges decrease by 20 per cent (44 fewer offenses).